Ex-Vivo Porcine Skin Model for Estimation of Trapped Occupant Burn Risk in Pre- and Post-suppression Fire Environments

Nicholas Traina, Richard M. Kesler, Steve Kerber, Robin Zevotek, Tonghun Lee, Gavin P. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are currently important questions in the fire service as to the efficacy of various fire attack methods, both in terms of rapidly suppressing the fire and for potentially impacting the burn risk for occupants in the structure. A series of 24 full-scale residential fire experiments were performed to investigate the influence of fire size and fire service water application (interior only vs exterior-to-interior fire attack) on relative risk for skin burns in trapped occupants. A novel skin damage assessment tool utilizing ex vivo porcine skin samples was developed allowing measurement of temperatures at the surface of the porcine skin and at the subcutaneous fat surrogate interface. This tool allowed, for the first time, observation that typical fire attack methods resulted in short-lived transient increases in skin surface temperatures for a simulated occupant just outside the fire room that were typically around 5°C but ranged from 0°C to 15°C for rapid fire service intervention. Minimal differences were observed between the effects of interior or exterior fire streams immediately outside of the fire room. However, these values were markedly lower than when water application was delayed. This new tool provides novel information regarding trapped occupant skin burn risk that compliments traditional fire measurement tools and may provide a platform for future study on the impact of clothing as well as model based interpretation of experimental data that more accurately captures relevant physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2465-2489
Number of pages25
JournalFire Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Fire dynamics
  • Fire suppression
  • Firefighting tactics
  • Residential fires
  • Thermal burns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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